Total Nutrition Technology
Thursday, April 23, 2015

By: Total Nutrition Technology

We all know about the foods that are touted as "healthy" by food manufacturers and their marketing departments and fall short in reality (see 10 Overrated "HEALTHY" Foods) but what about all the truly wonderful healthy foods that don't get the attention they deserve?

Well we put together a list of 10 of our some of our favorite healthy foods that need to get more of your attention.

10 Underrated HEALTH Foods

1) Sunflower Seeds – You don’t often hear many things about sunflower seeds like you do other nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans. I bet you didn’t know that ¼ cup of sunflower seeds has 6 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, and 25-75% of your daily Vitamin E, Copper, Manganese, and Selenium. It also has about 10% of your daily Zinc, Vitamin B6, and Magnesium. But you have to be careful as you do with all nuts because sunflower seeds have 180 calories in ¼ cup. To help keep those calories low, buy them in the shell, which will keep you from just popping handfuls in your mouth, since you actually have to work for the seed inside the shell.

2) Garbanzo Beans – Most people have forgotten about these beans, but recently they are starting to come into the spotlight and you are seeing them everywhere. These handy, versatile beans can be used in almost any dish. You can add them to your salad or you can add them to soups and chilies. You can also use them as your main bean in a bean salad or add them to your starchy dish at dinner like couscous or brown rice. You can even toast them until they are crunchy and have them as a healthy snack……even kids love them. These beans are full of fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc so they are not only versatile, they are rich in nutrients too!

3) Unsweetened Yogurts – People will take one look at unsweetened, plain yogurt and turn their head because it doesn’t have a flavor that everyone is used to in sweet, fruity yogurts like Yoplait and Dannon. Those sweet, fruity yogurts have about 4 teaspoons of added sugar and some brands use artificial sweeteners. Unsweetened yogurt has been pushed to the side because of the tart flavor and no sweetness when it is rich protein, calcium, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and zinc, whereas the sweetened yogurts don’t have all of these minerals and nutrients, making them not as healthy as we think. If you don’t like plain yogurt, try adding fruit to it, which will help calm down the tartness or add it to your sweetened yogurt and ease yourself into it gradually.

4) Watermelon – Everyone loves watermelon, but I bet everyone doesn’t know its benefits! Watermelon, contrary to what you might have heard, is chock full of nutrients and its serving size is about 2 cups for 85 calories, which is a lot more than most fruits you can find. It has 7% of your daily Potassium, 32% of your daily Vitamin A, and 38% of your daily Vitamin C. So its not just water like people claim, it actually is full of healthy benefits, plus it is one of the “Clean 15” fruits because the rind is so thick, not allowing any bugs or pesticides in to the juicy goodness.

5) Leafy Greens – When you think of leafy greens, lettuce is probably what comes to your mind first, but you’re forgetting about the best ones yet, which are kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, and Swiss chard. These greens are full of fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, lutein, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K making them one of the best nutrient rich vegetables out there. It also will help lower your risk of stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, bone loss, memory loss, and cataracts. The problem...most people don’t know how to cook them, which turns them off of the idea of having greens as a side dish at dinner. When buying, buy the ones in a bag with all the stems chopped off. Start with kale first because it is one of the milder greens among the many and sauté them with some other vegetables with a little extra virgin olive oil. You can also cook them in some stock with a turkey kielbasa or ham hock until tender or add them to a bean soup or vegetable soup. These greens are such a versatile vegetable, you can include them in almost any dish.

6) Peppers – Peppers, whether they are hot like jalapenos or habaneras or mild like a green bell pepper or a sweet pepper, are all full of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are an antioxidant that helps reduce your chances of getting cancer and other terrible diseases. If you choose hot peppers, you also will get the benefit of capsaicin, which is also a phytochemical that has been shown to help in weight loss and weight control.

7) Oats – This small, but powerful cereal is loaded with tons of fiber and it’s a great source of energy. Oatmeal has been shown to hold you longer than other cereals and it helps keep your digestive tract regular. They can also help lower bad cholestrol, lower your risk of a stroke, and lower your risk for heart disease. Combine these oats with some juice and a piece of toast with Jam and you have a heart-healthy, fiber-full breakfast.

8) Potatoes – I know you’re thinking, “how can this be?” Why are potatoes on the list of underrated, healthy foods? Well, if you don’t consume them as fries or potato chips, they can be very healthy. They are full of phytochemicals and vitamins and minerals like manganese. The phytochemicals are antioxidants that help prevent cancer and other diseases. To get the healthy benefits of this vegetable without all the fat, try eating is a baked potato with some reduced-fat sour cream, chives and a little pepper.

9) Tomatoes – I’m sure that you know tomatoes are good for you, but I bet you, as well as most people, have forgotten about how healthy they can be for you. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that can help prevent cancers and other deadly diseases. You get the most from a tomato when you eat is as a sauce or cooked like a spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, or okra and tomatoes.

10) Eggs – “The Incredible Edible Egg!” That’s what has been all over the television
 these last couple of years. Well they are right... it is incredible. Even though it has a high amount of cholesterol, we still need cholesterol for fat to be utilized in our bodies, so you shouldn’t worry about the cholesterol unless you are eating a lot of eggs. If you want to eat a lot, try using 1 whole egg and the rest as egg whites. Eggs are rich in Choline, which is a chemical that helps with the development of your brain and memory. It also aids in your learning capabilities. Not only it is full of Choline, but it is rich in vitamins and minerals too. When you eat eggs, keep it as simple as possible, keep it all-natural.

What are your favorite unappreciated health foods?

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